Most progressives and liberals have long suspected Donald Trump is a fraud. Thanks to an investigative reporter who has been dogging the Trumpster for over a quarter of a century, there is documentation of his numerous fraudulent acts and behaviors. In addition, there are a number of questions that the media should be asking that would doubtless prove that Donald Trump without a question is a total fraud.

David Cay Johnston is an author, lecturer, and investigative reporter who has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting who has presided over the board of the non-profit organization Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. His areas of expertise include tax law, accounting, economics, business and finance. He is also an outspoken Progressive whose thoughts and ideas echo those of Bernie Sanders. Since 1988, Johnston has been watching Trump closely. Recently, he came up with a list of questions that would reveal much about the GOP’s “Golden Boy” – assuming Trump would provide frank and forthcoming answers, as he claims to do.

For example, how many of our readers knew that Trump was successfully sued by the Attorney General of New York for running an “illegal educational institution”? Students at “Trump University” paid a whopping $35,000 for “Elite” mentorships – but never even saw their mentor. And here’s a juicy little fact that fans of The Godfather and The Sopranos should appreciate: the contracting firm that constructed Trump Tower was owned by a pair of gentlemen who went by the monikers of “Fat Tony” Salerno and “Big Paul” Castellano.

When it comes to charity, Trump doesn’t even donate to his own foundation. Instead, he donates other people’s money – specifically, those who do business with him.

Can you say, “kickbacks”?

It only gets better: Trump was found guilty in federal court of cheating immigrant workers hired to demolish a multi-story building. He paid them less than $5 per hour under the table. He didn’t even furnish them with hard hats.  Oh, and all that talk from Trump about how he’s a “self-made billionaire”? It turns out that he had a bit of help from the taxpayers of New York. The mayor of NYC at the time, Abe Beame, happened to be good buddies with Donny-boy’s Daddy, Fred Trump. That little connection got Donald a tax abatement on a mid-town Manhattan property (right next door to Grand Central Station) in 1976. That was the old Commodore Hotel, which today is the Grand Hyatt New York. As of 2016, that little deal that his daddy made for him will have cost taxpayers $400 million.

So much for being a “self-made” billionaire.

Incidentally, Donald – how do you explain the fact that you paid zero income tax in 1978 and 1979, when you were busy remodeling that fancy Manhattan hotel? In fact, how do you explain not being able to pay your bills back in 1990, despite being a billionaire? And maybe you’d like to clarify to voters how you managed to run not one, but four companies into the ground? You want to run the country like you run business?

Heavens help us if that scenario ever came to pass.

At age 66, David Cay Johnston has not lost his edge when it comes to asking the hard questions. You can read all 21 of them, along with more details, right here. However, don’t expect the mainstream corporate media to be putting them to the Trumpster anytime soon.

Chances are, he’d just side-step them or refuse to answer anyway.

Watch The Young Turks address how Trump’s money was made by his father, and how Trump actually invested it poorly. Also watch Thom Hartmann address the issue of Trump and the mob.

Addition to Original Piece:

Andrew Reinbach, a journalist who published an article in the Huffington Post on this topic in April 2011, sent Ring of Fire an email adding the following information to this piece:

Trump Tower was not built by a company owned by Tony Salerno and Paul Castellano. Trump Tower’s general contractor was, I believe, The Trump Organization, itself. HRH Construction–the firm owned by Salerno and Castellano–supplied the concrete for the poured-concrete building. At the time, that company was the only supplier of concrete in Manhattan.

Salerno also controlled the Demolition Workers Local 95, and Trump had hired a demolition contractor from Herkimer, NY to handle demolition of Bonwit Teller, the old, distinguished department store that occupied part of the Trump Tower site. That’s who supplied illegal Polish immigrants to the project.

There’s no room to store supplies on the reconstruction site of a Manhattan tower, so daily supplies are trucked in from New Jersey on a very tight, orchestrated schedule geared to that day’s operations. Those truckers are of course Teamsters. But in one of America’s strongest union towns, Trump Tower experienced no labor problms, even though non-union labor was used.

So the lingering question has been: How did that happen? The answer is probably Tony Salerno and the lawyer he shared with Donald Trump–Roy Cohn. There is no way a violation of labor peace like this could have gone forward unless someone in a powerful position gave the go-ahead.

SHARE
K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues.